What do dads want for Father’s Day? In an informal survey of real life dads, the overwhelming answer was sex. Although to be fair some said cake/pie and sex. Suffice it to say desserts of all sorts are appreciated by dads everywhere.

But what can the KIDS get the dads?

Well my go-to gift for my dad was always tools. My dad is a backyard mechanic and has a full complement of tools. He is also awesome at Gerry-rigging contraptions to help him do the job. Some are brilliant, like using 2 x 4s to brace an engine rather than hoist it out to change a transmission. Others leave me shaking my head, like the time he used his cigarette lighter rather than a flashlight to see if there was fuel in the injectors. That incident ended with 1st degree burns and a stubborn refusal to go to the doctor…

But I digress.

What I didn’t realize as a child was the tools I chose were never the tools he needed. And while he was always delighted with the gift, he very quietly returned them to Canadian Tire to buy what he really needed.

And that’s a common problem isn’t it? Dads don’t really need anything (a boat, sports car, or pricy electrical gadget aside) and anything else they want, they just go out and buy!

So what do you get the old guy? Here are some of the gifts we’ve given in recent years:

1 – Build their Collection:

Whether it’s beer steins, concert t-shirts, or license plates, adding a new piece to something they already collect is an easy gift. My husband collects vinyl, so Daddy is getting the newly reissued Led Zeppelin I, II & III this year…

Vinyl collection

2 – Feed them:

Because one of the ways to a man’s heart has always been his stomach, a cool bottle of BBQ sauce, a crazy hot sauce, or dinner at a fave restaurant are always appreciated!

3 – Water them:

Recently my husband returned from a weeklong business trip and my daughter suggested we get him a “Big Beer” as a welcome home gift. It also makes a great Father’s day gift, as they can be had for less than $10. Packages of scotch rocks, personalized glassware or a book about cocktails are also great gifts. However, if you let the kids pick the scotch that you give along with the scotch rocks, be sure to check the price is reasonable before you head to the counter to avoid an awkward situation where you balk at paying $110 for a bottle of scotch.

Don’t ask how I know…

Liquid gifts for dad

4 – Make something:

Sometimes is really is the thought that counts. A card, filling out a cute printable, making a clay bowl for them to put change in or even baking up a batch of his favorite cookies (see #2), are all small, easy and thoughtful ways to remind dad how much we love him.

home made spare change holder

5 – When all else fails, pull out a gift card!

Now I know that gift cards aren’t always seen as the most thoughtful way to give, however it’s the perfect way for dad to get exactly what he wants without reaching into his own wallet (even if he is indirectly footing the bill…).

And have you ever thought about purchasing a gift card specifically to buy a gift? Because for a limited time, various stores have promotions on gift cards, so you can get more for less! You can get gift cards for Joey’s (see #2!) at Safeway and get bonus AirMiles! Buy cards for the Keg or Bass Pro at Rexall and you’ll get Aeroplan points! And Sobey’s is offering 15% off iTunes cards in denominations of $25 and up.

Disclosure: I am part of the Father’s Day Gift Card Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.